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After being blocked, evangelist Franklin Graham claims Facebook ‘is censoring free speech’

UPDATED: Sun., Dec. 30, 2018, 9:40 p.m.

The Rev. Franklin Graham (Bebeto Matthews / AP)
The Rev. Franklin Graham (Bebeto Matthews / AP)
By Michael Brice-Saddler Washington Post

Franklin Graham, the son of the evangelist Billy Graham and a staunch supporter of President Donald Trump, said Sunday that he accepts “Facebook’s apology” after the platform blocked him for 24 hours last week.

On Friday, Graham wrote on Facebook that his account had been temporarily blocked over a 2016 post about North Carolina’s House Bill 2, more commonly known as the “bathroom bill.” According to Graham, Facebook said the post went against its “community standards on hate speech.”

“Facebook is trying to define the truth,” Graham wrote. He added, “Actually, Facebook is censoring free speech. The free exchange of ideas is part of our country’s DNA.”

In a statement provided Sunday, Facebook spokeswoman Sarah Pollack acknowledged that the 24-hour block was made after the platform had removed the post for “violating (its) hate speech policies.”

“Upon re-reviewing this content, we identified that the post does not violate our hate speech policy and has been restored,” Pollack said.

The 2016 post in question, which Graham republished to his page Friday, asserted that House Bill 2 protected “the safety and privacy of women and children.” The controversial 2016 bill required people to use public restrooms that matched the sex on their birth certificate instead of the gender they identified with – particularly affecting the transgender community.

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